Multitasking In Magic: Intention in Ritual Work

                                                                            By Michael Freedman

"I incline towards the opinion that effective rituals have a singular focus - essentially being an unified expression of one's intent." - Michael Freedman

The following comments are based on my experience as a ceremonial magician who has been doing it systematically for more 40 years, and who has facilitated the training of two or three very good, very independently minded magical apprentices during the past 25 years.

My reference to my apprentices is because each of them has developed a magical style and specific procedures that are different not only from my own but from each other. However, there is a common factor to all three or four of us.

We each spend considerable time establishing what is the Intention, the K.W.N.H [transliterating Hebrew characters] Kawanah, the direction or thrust, of any particular spell or rite. This is based on one of the basic axioms of our system of Magic:"What is desired is gained". And its corollary: "Therefore it behoves the magician to make sure that he knows what it is that he desires, for many a hidden desire lurks within the heart of each of us, to leap forth and find fulfilment in your spells."

I will spare the Arcanoi the elaborate and subtle gematrical analysis of the Hebrew word KWNH through which I put my students through at this point usually. Numerous magicians, e.g. Israel Regardie and Dion Fortune, have pointed out the importance of self-analysis. So, first, there is continuing self-preparation [presumably through some sort of regular meditation technique] to open up our self-knowledge, so that we are aware of the "hidden desires" likely to thrust themselves forward to blur the single-pointed-ness of our Intention.

Then there is the clarification of the specific Intention. Only when you Understand [Binah] the Intention, given it Form, can you work with Wisdom and Practical Skill [Chokmah] to give it the Force for it to move towards its fulfilment.

This is precisely the same thing as consulting an oracle, such as the I' Ching or the Tarocchi. If your question is not framed correctly and carefully, you won't get a useful reply.

Some of us around the world have been working collective spells for many years with the Intention of nudging the human race in a direction that will take us towards Community rather than Conflict, towards Compassion rather than Condescension, towards Co-operation rather than Competition.

We took advantage of the very rare and important planetary configurations in the Astrological Tides of Time that occurred during Scorpio in 1982. These were nothing to compare with them since the 6th century BCE actually, though there is something similar every five or six hundred years.

The result was, in my case, a series of eleven major rituals [ten Pentagram rites and one Hexagram rite] held with a single month, each contributing towards the overall thrust, though each somewhat different in its individual nature. In my case, it was preceded by 12 months of unaccustomed mission arising and teaching elementary students to ensure that there were plenty of folk about at the right time, with sufficient skills to assist in the Work.

For me, the most exciting rite was 'Dancing the Hexagram', an ecstatic rite in which people danced along the sides of interlinked hexagrams, while a group of drummers and chanters sat at the Centre, using for words an extended form of the Gnostic Hymn of Jesus, and for music one of the more vigorous and exciting chants composed by Alphonse the Wise in Toledo in the 12th century. They are on disk, though haven't the details in front of me.

We danced, drummed and chanted continuously on a playing field that is halfway up Mount Eden on its northern side for nearly eight hours, folk moving into the centre when too tired to continue and being replaced by others. This was the rite that provided the Force to launch our Intention. It was the central rite, flanked by five before and five after. The shape of the sequence of rituals thus became like an arrow in time with its single point or Intention directed towards the future of humankind.

In a sense, multi-tasking in magic is possible, but only if the tasks are intimately related and connected otherwise, you are like Stephen Leacock's Arab: "The Lone Arab scattered wildly in all directions".